tv FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace FOX News October 14, 2012 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
>> chris: i'm chris wallace. biden versus ryan is in the books. now, it is the debate rematch for obama and romney. with just 23 days 'til the election, can the president come back from a bad night and regain the upper hand? we'll talk with his campaign senior strategist david axelrod. then, governor romney tries to build on his first debate and continue his surge in the polls. we will ask senior advisor are ed gillespie how romney hopes to keep the momentum going. axelrod and gillespie only on
"fox news sunday." also, more questions about that deadly terror attack on americans in libya. we will ask our sunday panel about warnings the obama administration ignored about the security threat in benghazi. and the candidates learn the heat is on in the kitchen and on the trail. all right now on "fox news sunday." >> chris: and hello again from fox news in washington. with two presidential debates in the next 8 days and the polls getting much tighter, we may be reaching the decisive moment in the long race for the white house. we have questions for both sides today starting with david axelrod who joins us from williamsburg virginia where the president is getting ready for tuesday about's debate. david, welcome back to "fox news sunday." >> thanks, chris. good to be with you. >> chris: let's start with the growing controversy over the killing of the four americans
in libya. here is what vice president biden had to say about that in thursday's debate. >> they wanted more security there. >> well, we weren't told they wanted more security there. we did not know they wanted more security. >> chris: david, just the day before several state department officials testified under oath that there were repeated requests for more security that were rejected. what is the vice president talking about? >> i think the vice president was talking about what the house knew. there are embassies all oh he vert world and installations all over the world and these requests go in to the security professionals at the state department and there is no doubt that some of these matters went into the security department at the state security agency at the state department. but it didn't come to the white house and that is what the vice president was responding to. >> chris: so we are now getting into a definition of what the word "we" means when the vice president says we he is not
talking about the obama administration because the question wasn't about what you knew it is there there were requests for are more security. bide season is not talking about the obama administration. he is not talking about the state department. he is just talking about himself and the president? >> i think, chris, again, what he was talking about was what he the president knew because these matters were being handled at the state department. but listen, here is is the fundamental thing. nobody, there is nobody on this planet who s more concerned and more interested in getting to the bottom of this than the president of the united states. he feels personal responsibility for every representative he sends around the world. he knew christevens. he admired chris stevens. so look, we want to get to the bottom of it and the first order of business is to bring to justice those who committed this heinous pant an act and sy find out what adjustments need to be made to further secure
our diplomats around the world. >> chris: does the president take personal responsibility rest.e fact that rest. petersburged requests for -- repeated requests for more security were made and rejected. does he take personal responsibility for that? >> at the topline level the president of the united states is responsible for everything that happens on his watch. these were judgments made by the security folks at the state department and, of course, we are going review that whole process and see how those decisions are made and why those decisions were made and how we adjust in the future to make sure that we are giving our diplomats the maximum protection we can. the reality is that many of these folks serve in dangerous places in the world and you can't a hundred percent guarantee anything but we want to get as close to 100% as we can and that is why the investigations are moving forward. >> chris: i want to ask you about this question of personal responsibility by the president because in the debate the vice
president also blamed the intelligence community for the false reports that came out immediately after about the idea that this was a spontaneous demonstration that ran amuk. in fact, the top state department official said this week he was asked about that and this is what he said. that is a question that you would have to ask others. that was not the idea of the spontaneous demonstration that was not our conclusion. question work all of the finger pointing going on at the state department, going on towards the intelligence community, whatever happened to the principle the buck stops with the president? >> well, as i said, the president is responsible for everything that happens on his watch. the -- i mean it isn't the -- it isn't us or any one else who is suggesting that is what the intelligence was at the time. the intelligence community itself and director klapper has said that. in fact, chris, you had people from the state department
testifying under oath that on the day for example when ambassador rice appeared on your program and other programs any one would have said the same thing that she said because that was the intelligence we were receiving. and it is not a matter of blaming. that is just the facts. sometimes intelligence has to catch up with the reality on the ground. this was one of those cases. >> chris: well, but that doesn't quite square with the facts, sir. because charleen lamb who was a top state department official said in the hearing she was in real time communication with the people on the ground in benghazi so there was a difference of opinion between what the intelligence community was saying and what the state department was saying. the state department official as we said said there was never our conclusion there was a spontaneous protest which raises this question. how soon after the attack did the president meet with his national security council with people from the state, with people from the department -- or the director of national in tell he against with all of the various people to try to sort
out what happened in benghazi? >> look, we are sorting out what happened there. understand that the president the day after the -- the day after attack called it an act of terror and charged everyone with responsibility to get to the bottom of what happened, why -- and as the first order of business to make sure we bring to justice the terrorists who were responsible for this act. so the president has reacted as you would want the president to react to this. but just getting back to your point on the state department, just a second, chris. you talk about the state department spokesman. you had representatives of the state department testifying under oath this week before congress and they said what i said to you which is that any one based on the the intelligence that they were -- that they had at the time would have said what the administration said and what ambassador rice said the day after the attack chri attack.
>> chris: the reason i ask this is well, you say the president made a statement. the president made a statement and then went off to a fundraiser or campaign stop in nevada. question, before he went to the fundraiser in nevada did he meet with his national security council to try to sort out the shifting store areries because state says they never said was was a spontaneous demonstration. intel did, you're quite right. did he meet with the national security council before campaigning in nevada? >> i assure you that the president was in contact with all those who had information and responsibility in the national security chain about this incident. again, let me stress. there isn't any one on this planet who feels a greater sense of responsibility for our diplomats, for our service people who take this more personally than the president of the united states and he is determined to get to the bottom of what happened. to bring these killers to justice. these terrorists to justice and
make sure whatever adjustments we have to make we make. >> chris: let's look at what deputy campaign manager stephanie cutter had to say this week about the attack in libya that killed the four americans. >> the entire reason that this has become the political topic it is is because of mitt romney and paul ryan. >> chris: do you really believe, david, that the concern over libya is just politics that has been ginned up by the romney campaign? >> look, i think there were two separate issues. obviously there is a serious issue here we have just been discussing it for are several minutes and it is an essential matter that we get to the bottom of what happened and bring the terrorists to justice. this terrorist is totally committed to that. there h is a separate issue of how governor romney has handled this. i refer you back to the famous 47% tape in the spring where governor romney told in private told supporters that he was
waiting for a crisis or incident to jump in it on national security and he did. he jumped in right away the day of these attacks with half information in a way that was denounced by both republicans and democrats and there is no doubt that he is working hard to exploit this issue and i would point to the fact that this morning in bloomberg news chris stevens' dad said that he regretted that people were trying to exploit this issue and i think we ought to follow the lead of the ambassador's family and allow this investigation to run and get to the bottom of it and make the adjustments that are necessary. by the way in that same -- >> chris: wait. david. wait, wait, wait. wait a minute. this is the first u.s. ambassador killed since 1979 and susan rice came on this show and five others and gave the american people a story that turned out to not be true and you are saying that we shouldn't discuss this and we should wait for the investigation to be completed? >> no, no, no. >> chris: that is what you just
said. >> chris, calm down. that is obviously not what i'm saying. >> chris: you just said we would -- you just said we should follow the lead of chris stevens' father. >> i'm happy to discuss it with you. and i do think that it is worthy of discussion. i think that is different than the manner in which governor romney has conduct himself and it is not just me who attacked him for the way he handled this. he was roundly criticized by people from right to left, the republican establishment and democratic establishment. >> chris: you are talking about what he said the day after the attacks. i don't think anybody is criticizing him for what he is saying now except the obama campaign. >> well, i -- i'm just telling you that from the beginning of this issue before any facts were known he was cravingly trying to exploit it and that is politics, i underand it that, chris, what. i understand the whole deal. we are in the last three weeks of a campaign and, of course, governor romney is going to be out there talking about this issue but the president's concern, are the president's
concern is to get to the bottom of it and bring the terrorists to justice and make whatever adjustments are necessary based on the investigation to ensure that in the future are if there were -- if there were lapses that those lapses are addressed. >> chris: let's turn to a couple of other subjects. we went much longer than libya than i expected. your campaign now concedes that the president had a "bad night" in denver during the first debate. what is he going to do differently on tuesday? >> i think the president -- nobody is a harsher critic than the president is of himself and he viewed the tape and i think he will make some adjustments on tuesday and i'm not going to get into detail about strategic changes that he might make but i just encourage you to watch and show up. i think it will be he an interesting debate. >> chris: will he be more aggressive in taking on the romney record? >> well, i think he is going to be agress nerve makin everybodg the case for his view of where we should go as a country and a country built around a growing
thriving middle class not the top down theory that governor romney has. the other thing he will is certainly do, we he saw you governor romney sort of walk away from his own proposals and certainly the president is going to be willing to challenge him on it as we saw the vice president challenge paul ryan. you know, paul ryan was on your show a couple of weeks ago, could not answer how governor romney would pay for the $5 trillion tax plan and he had all that time after your show to prepare for the debate and in 90 minutes he still couldn't explain it. so we will give governor romney another chance on tuesday to try and square this impossible circle. >> chris: we will talk with that with ed gillespie in the next segment. i want to ask you about the latest numbers. in the real clear politics average of recent polls romney now leads the president in national surveys by a little over one point and in key swing states obama's lead is now just 1.7% in ohio. less than half a point in virginia and romney now leads in florida by three points.
question, hasn't romney made real gains since the first debate and where is this race now? >> i think he made a little bit of progress after the first debate. i think he picked up some of these republican-leaning independents who had lost heart watching his convention, watching that 47% tape. he got some of those people back. i think he made all of that progress in the first couple of days and in fact, chris, this morning there is a poll out that shows the president leading in ohio by 5%. leading in arizona by 2%. the data that i see suggests that whatever progress governor romney made he made in the first couple of days after the debate and the race has been stable and we are even or ahead in every one of these battleground states and the most tangible marker is early voting all over the country. there is a poll out this morning that suggests the president was winning 59% of the early voters. we have reason to believe that we are doing very well with the early voters. i mean i think there is a lot of hype and as i said
throughout even when the polls were wildly positive for us that the public polls are all over the place and the reality of the race on the ground is that we are ahead. it is a little bit narrower than it was before the last debate but we feel good about where we are and we have a great ground game going and then we will have a great debate on tuesday and the following week we expect governor romney will have a great debate, too. he is a great salesman. that is what he did as a professional and he is very good at it. at the end of the day people will judge on our plans, our records and our vision for the future and we are looking forward to discussing that on tuesday. >> chris: david, thank you. thanks for taking time out of your debate prep and we will all be watching tuesday night. >> looking forward to it. thanks,. >> chris: up next, we talk with ed gillespie, senior advisor to the romney campaign.
>> chris: joining us to discuss governor romney's lan to keep his momentum going as he heads into tuesday's debate is senior advisor ed gillespie. welcome back. >> chris: what is he saying that the president is personally responsible for what happened it benghazi or at least for the failure to provide more securitynd he a personally responsible for the evolving changing story about what happened about the evolving spontaneous protest? >> in order to make sure that we make the changes necessary to protect the ambassadors and embassies and consulates going forward we node t need to know what went wrong in the days and weeks that led up to benghazi. >> chris: they are investigating that now. >> but you have to get honest
answers in response to the questions. we have seen a constantly shifting story from various parts of the administration and when vice president biden said in the debate wednesday night that we weren't told that they wanted more security there in libya, he directly contradicted the sworn testimony of the regional security director for the state department with responsibility for libya. that is a real problem, chris. that is a problem. >> chris: what about the argument that you just heard from david axel rod when said we he meant the president and vice president and even the white house and quite frankly there is no reason that they would have heard that people were asking for more security in libya. that is not the something that would rise to the presidential level? >> first of all, i guess we will accept that explanation. we generally means your administration when you are talking as the president or the vice president of the united states including your state department. clearly what we saw here this morning, what we have been see hing it an effort by president
barack obama and vice president bide ton say no it was really secretary clinton and the state department you ought to be looking at and talking to and criticizing here as opposed to us in the white house. i'm not sure that that is sustainable. frankly, i think that the buck does stop in the oval office. and we will see. on top of that, though, chris, maybe even more important is two weeks after the attacks the president of the united states stood in the well of the united nations and talked about the you tube video six times. and did not say that these attacks were an acts of terrorism or a terrorist attack. but again continued in six different instances citing a youtube video. >> chris: what is behind all this? does governor romney believe that the president is engaged in a political coverup? >> governor romney believes that in order for us as a country to be more secure we need to learn from the lessons. we need to know what happened going into the terrorist
attack. >> chris: for give me, you are ducking my question which is why does he think that the administration two weeks after the fact was still talking about the video, still talking about a spontaneous protest? why does he think they were doing that? >> we don't know. >> chris: you are not willing to say you think it was an effort at political blame shifting or covering up? >> we think there are more questions than answers right now and the questions deserve answers and the american people have a right to know the answers. accurate answers. >> chris: the president's main line of attack against romney right now is in effect that the governor is lying about his pollties to make it seem that he is more moderate than in fact he really is. let's watch. >> after running for more than a year in which he called himself severely conservative, mitt romney is trying to convince you that he was severely kidding. >> chris: hasn't romney moved to the center, shifted some of his positions to the center or at least his emphasis on those positions in recent weeks?
>> no, chris, the fact is governor you romney's positions don't comport with the 30 second attack ads that the obama campaign has been running for nearly a year now or at least over six months. millions of dollars of the attack ads distorting the governor's position and what nearly 70 million americans saw you last week in the debate and tens of millions more in the vice presidentual debate are the real position is of governor romney which would get our economy moving again and lower tax codes by 20% across the board and offsetting those in reform that would unleash economic growth. they learned the facts in that debate and that is what the president is clearly frustrated about. >> chris: let's look specifically at abortion and what romney said to the editorial board this week. here it is. >> there is no legislation with regards to abortion hall of fame' familiar with that would become part of my agenda. >> but here is the legislation that romney has promised in his
campaign to sign. law to protect unborn children capable of feeling pain to protect them from abortion ending federal funding of planned parenthood because of their involvement in abortion and he also said he wants roe versus wade overturned. what does he mean when says he has no legislative agenda on abortion? >> that was cut short a little bit. he also went on to say that he would reverse the obama administration policy on federal funding for abortion taxpayer funding for abortions overseas. he would repeal obama care which also has taxpayer funding for abortion. he would be a prolife president. he is a prolife candidate. he would sign those -- >> chris: why did he say no legislative agenda when there are at least two bills that he would sign? >> they were talking about the economy obviously as the governor goes around the country and talked about his five part plan tore restoring the middle class and getting the middle class growing again, the romney-ryan plan for a stronger middle class.
>> chris: he was talking about abortion. he wasn't talking about the economy. he was talking about abortion. >> he has been consistent throughout the campaign. governor romney believes that roe versus wade was wrongly decided and that it should be overturned and that the american people should be allowed to address this very important issue through their elected representatives. he believes there shouldn't be federal funding for abortion and will act immediately to ensure that is not the case by reversing the mexico city policy and he would, indeed, sign the legislation that protects -- that further protects innocent human life is, he is completely consistent here. >> chris: let's talk about what david axel rod brought up on the question of taxes. paul ryan got roughed up for failing to explain how you will pay for the 20 about percent cut in tax rates by limiting deductions. let's take a look. here it is. >> we want to work with the congress on how best to achieve this. that means success. >> with no specifics. >> lower tax rates 20%.
start with the wealthy. work with congress to do it. >> chris: ryan is saying we don't want to get themed in let's leave it with negotiations with congress to get into the details. why is it all right to tell voters about the candy, hey, everybody is going to get a 20% cut on their tax rates but let's not tell them about the spinach which is you are going to lose some deductions. >> we have talked about losing deductions. >> chris: but haven't been specific. >> because in a campaign environment to start negotiating in a campaign environment you will lock in republicans and lock in democrats. >> you locked them in on the 20% tax rate. >> the 20% tax rate i think the people will understand that is a broad principle that that tax rate needs to come down and we need to broaden the base. that is the principle. also that we are not going to change the share of taxes paid by upper income earners and we will give tax relief to the middle class and going to be deficit neutral. you can do all those things and have people understand this election was about this and we
need this kind of progrowth tax reform agenda and work out the details in the same way ronald reagan did with tip o'neill with working across the aisle. governor romney has a proven record of being able to work across the aisle. >> chris: there are a lot of questions from independent people how do you pay for it and you refuse to say how you will pay for it? >> we will pay for it by eliminating deductions and loopholes and making sure for the middle class that protecting the home mortgage deduction and other important deductions for them but at the high end you would eliminate deductions and a lot of special interest loopholes that would allow you you to bring down the rate 20%. six different studies said this is -- >> chris: those studies are questionable. some of them are blogged. some from the aei which is hardly an independent group. >> these are credible sources and -- >> chris: one is from a blog from a guy who was a top advisor to george w. bush. these are hardly nonpartisan
studies. >> if you look at harvard and aei and other studies they are are credible sources. >> chris: you wouldn't say that aee is a conservative think tank? >> i would say it is a right leaning think tank. that doesn't make it not. >> i it doesn't make it nonpartisan. >> it is not a partisan organization. there are many instances there have been things that aei came out with and said that i didn't find to be necessarily helpful to the republican party. i do believe in the interest of the republican party. >> gretchen: would you say the brookings institution is nonpartisan. >> they are left leaning and nonparsitan. >> chris: you know the president will be much more aggressive tuesday night in the next debate. how does the governor plan to handle that? yes. >> doll what he did in the last debate. talk about his agenda and policies. they are in sharp contrast. a big choice election here between president obama's policies and governor romney's policies. that became clear in the first debate and will be clear in the second debate and it was clear in the vice presidential debate. this is a big choice election
and the fact is what we saw you is even if he changes his style at whatever political tactic the president settles on as being in the best interest for this debate he can't change his record and he can't change his policy. >> chris: i talked to david axelrod about the tightening polls and romney now leads in the national polls and you closed the gap in a lot of other polls. where do you think the race is at now? >> the race is close. the wind is clearly on governor romney's back. the country is lienl evenly divided. david axelrod and i don't agree with much. we couldn't agree on a stopped clock what time it is. we do agree this will be a close race, i believe the momentum s on governor romney's side and he will win in november. >> chris: thank you for coming in today. safe travels on the cam feign trail.
>> thank you. >> chris: up next, the sunday panel panel. what to expect when romney and obama meet again on tuesday. >> announcer: meet jill. she thought she'd feel better after seeing her doctor. and she might have, if not for kari, the identity thief who stole jill's social security number to open credit cards, destroying jill's credit and her dream of retirement. now meet amanda. with a swipe of her debit card, she bought some gas... and an all-expense-paid trip
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we have a fundamentally different vision for america and quite frankly a fundamentally different value set. >> the president is simply saying more of the same. hope and change has become attack and blame. >> chris: that was vice president biden and congressman ryan still arguing their case to voters the day after their debate. and it is time for our sunday group. brit hume fox news senior political analyst. bob woodward of the washington post and author of the new book the price of politics. syndicated radio host laura ingram and jeff zeleny from the new york times. same question i asked both campaign advisors.
where is the race? >> it is tight. there was momentum and is momentum for romney coming out of the first presidential debate. i don't think that it was entirely breaked by the dominant if not necessarily attractive performance by vice president biden this week. so i think that is about where it stands. the race had begun to tight and little bit, chris, be even before the first debate. and we all know who covered the stuff for years that late in a campaign typically from sort of mid october forward races tend to tighten. this one has started to tighten. it may tighten further. but at the moment it looks like mr. romney has a little something going and the president has a challenge this week to try to turn that around. >> chris: jeff as the one of us spending the most time actually in the field with the candidates with the voters, your sense, has the race tightened and is it because of the first debate? >> i think it is because of the first debate and there is no question that the race has tightened and voters are
reexamining this 86 spent five days in ohio this week and one thing i was struck by was the enthusiasm on the republican side. the crowds that governor romney was getting i would describe them as obama-sized crowds from 2008. some 10,000 people day after day after day at these rallies at county fair grounds and these people that i spoke to were not as intent on defeating the president which they are but they were saying in the affirmative they want to elect mitt romney. i think a lot of people after the first debate performance saw h him in a different light or finally sort of proud of him and saw him as the republican nominee and all of the early voting thing going on democrats do have is an advantage but that is also help fog fire up republicans. it gives republicans three more weeks to sort of say hey we really need to get you out to the polls. bit of a mixed opportunity here for the early voting. >> chris: laura, let's talk about tuesdays it debate. what do you think is job one for romney and specifically because it is clear that obama is going to try to be more
aggressive and more present than he was in the first debate. how does he handle that? >> when obama is in your face which he will be in the next debate romney has to respond as he did in the first debate. it might be a little difficult for him because it will be very different. the town hall format is much friendlier to barack obama. jeff is exactly right. i was in columbus last saturday and people coming up to me for the first time saying that we have a reason to believe that mitt romney can actually win this. three or four weeks ago traveling in places like kansas city they didn't have that same feeling and they do now. even in california the local cbs 5 poll showing an 8-point game for mitt romney. he is still like 14 points behind in california but if he is moving up that far in california that is not insignificant. i think without a doubt mitt romney in this debate has to show that connection and abill to be a little is self-deprecating and on the march but staying off the
defense. on the defensive i think he looks weak. he has to stay on the march. >> chris: what do you think is is the top priority for the president in the debate and being that it as town hall how does he get more aggressive with romney when has to respond to real people with real problems and not just questions from reporters? >> the race is volatile and can two either direction i think. what is really important for obama, he can't come on in the next debate and all of a sudden be a different person in a radical way. people are going to say wait a minute, is this showmanship. and i think the key question is remember everyone was kicking around this idea of are you better off now than you were four years ago. i think the question people want answered is how are you going to make me better off in the next year, in the next four years and if you really look at
the details neither campaign has answered that sufficiently and it is quite possible that somebody is going to come out with something and explain what they really mean and what their plan is and that could tip it. >> chris: brit? strikes me in the debate in which you are answering questions from voters the president will do well in being empathetic toward voters and in expressing in his way their concerns. mitt romney as has been suggested here s not as good at that. the question is can he really in that format make up the ground lost in the first debate. i'm not saying it is impossible but i think it is difficult. because if you are saying well, mary, the best way i can handle the problem you just described it to keep us away from the policies advocated by my opponent here who wants to do x, y and z and burn down the house i'm not sure that kind of turning something into an
attack will work very well in that format. so i think it may be a little more difficult for the president to recover as fully as i am sure he will try. >> chris: bob, don't you think in a sense the town hall format potentially could be a real advantage for romney and here would be my argument because romney has been portrayed that's rich uncaring unfeeling rich guy and if he were to come out and when mary ask is her question plays some version of clinton's i feel your pain isn't that an opportunity to kind of undo millions of dollars of obama attack ads? >> and stories that have dribbled out that demonstrate that he can be really good at that. what is going to be interesting s you can get the killer question from somebody at a town hall meeting, somebody can ask the kind of thing that just sets everyone back. we could sit here and devise those questions and they can come from real voters and there may be a moment where somebody
is going ask one of those and it will really put either candidate or both onpot. >> chris: jeff, i don't want to ignore the event of this last week. from your reporting did the obama camp always intend for joe biden to be so aggressive? some would say be over the top in his dealing with paul ryan? did they think that that was a good tactic? >> perhaps not always but after the debate in denver absolutely. they knew that they needed a moment to sort of quiet things down on the democratic side to show that they had some fight in here and really to kind of shake voters' attention who may have been swayed by the first debate and try and get them to sort of reexamine the ryan budget plan and romney/ryan plan. from the denver debate that was the strategy to have the vice president sort of shake things up a bit. i'm not sure if all of the smiling and hectoring was necessarily part of the plan. it is joe biden being joe
biden. and that perhaps was not ideal. i think if you were listening to this on the radio which, of course, not many people were it was probably a different biden performance. i think they were fine with it overall because he got a lot of his points across. >> chris: moved the needle at all or a nonevent? >> a nonevent. gave the president a few days to have democrats stop complaining about him. i think we are not talking about this very much. i mean it is a forward looking thing and the vice presidential candidates are the vice presidential candidates. >> chris: laura, a quick last word. >> most people will remember one thing out of the of that debate. the smirking and mugging to the camera and interrupting. regular people who aren't all that political say he is the vice president of the united states and is that the best you can do. a lot of them in their lives aren't laughing very much. they are struggling. i think it looked unserious and immature and i think that is a lasting image.
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it is not the hardships. not the gun fire. not the threats. it is dealing and fighting against the people, programs and personnel who are supposed to be supporting me and i added it by saying for me the taliban is on the inside of the building. >> chris: that was eric nordstrom the top security officer in libya last summer testifying to congress wednesday about his frustrations over not being able to get more security approved by the state department. and we are back now with the panel. brit, there were several big
developments in the libya story this week. at a congressional hearing we learned that top security people like nordstrom repeatedly requested and were turn ited down for more security. also the comments from vice president biden in the debate "we weren't told." how politically vulnerable do you think the president is on libya? >> i think it is a significant vulnerability. it is on two tracks really. one is a security and intelligence failure that manifest by what happened there and the second is the possibility that there has been a coverup here with real mendacity on the part of the and menstruation. we now know that the state -- of the administration. we knew that the state department knew what was going on here. certainly the personnel in libya new. the night of the attack reenforcements were sent from tripoli to count they are paramilitary terrorist attack. they knew what was going on. the state department so far action we could tell never thought this was some kind of a
spontaneous reaction that went crazy. they never thought that. and yet -- >> chris: there was no spontaneous demonstration. there was no protest at all. >> by the end of the week here came sue and rice an official of the state department on this program and many others to say the best information from intelligence is this was a reaction to the video as sparked from a reaction in cairo. i don't think that was true and that the state department thought that. it is unimaginable to me that susan rice believed that was true. i think she went out on that sunday because no one else would do it and i think it was an utterly political act. >> chris: bob as one of the key people who broke the water gate scandal and i'm ho not comparig this to that. as you look at what happened in benghazi the changing story of what happened as you look at the security warnings beforehand are you troubled by the actions of the obama administration?
>> yeah. there are lots of unanswered questions and i love documents and they released some documents in this and if you two go and look at the original request for more security they say our policy, our goal here is to shift from an emergency footing to normalize the security relationship. now, this is in march, six, seven months ago. any one looking that the say wait a minute, read the document in which they say the situation is incredibly unstable. why are you trying to normalize your security in a situation that is visibly unstable? you even acknowledge that. so you have got a bad policy and any one looking at that would say wait a minute, we are screw the up, we can't normalize here. so that is the first problem. the second problem is as soon as an ambassador is killed the president should be more
proactive and be out there. he can go five minutes in the white house briefing room and say this is really serious, we are going to get to the bottom of it. we don't have the answers and all of this could have been nipped in the bud and it was not. >> chris: and what do you make of the fact that five days later susan rice goes out and tells the story about a spontaneous protest when we now know the state department never thought there was a spontaneous protest. and they were in touch in real time with people on the ground in benghazi on the 11th. >> haven't, you know, i don't think we know exactly why she did that or what was going on. but the kiwi yo key, which youd out to david axelrod two weeks later the president is at the u.n. and citing the you tube video half a dozen times which we now know had nothing to do with what happen in benghazi.
>> chris: laura? >> i think about susan rice going out there on this show and four other shows on sunday and did she have any direct or are indirect contact with any one from the obama campaign, david axel rod, plouffe, i would like mr. axelrod to answer that question. i would hope that the new york times as they camped outside of scooter libby's house, are you camped outside of the scooter rice residence or anything? >> great we have another assign mint. >> we a dead ambassador and two navy seals dead and another security officer dead and the president answers this the next morning by flying to vegas for a fundraiser. i submit if this were a republican president and this went down this way you would have reporters camped outside of hillary's house and rice's house and demand that the president do a full-blown press
conference on what happened. maybe it is a income pa tense and series of mistakes, when you attacks on benghazi and the red cross office and then postings on facebook we are coming after you on september 10? they don't have actionable intelligence? what? this is ridiculous. i think the press is partly culpable here. >> chris: jeff? >> people are raising this as a question and this was not the case three weeks ago when ambassador rice was out making the statement. it was not on the minds of people and now it is on the minds of the public. i think that is one of the key things that w will be discussed at this debate and at the next debate next monday in florida on foreign policy. i think the obama administration and campaign has created a pretty large opening here for are governor romney to make the broader argument about
competence and leadership and things and it is up to the president to answer some of these questions. i don't think we have all of the answers right now and i'm fascinated to see how he is going to respond. when asked by a real person or are when asked next week by a moderator about this. he hasn't had many press conferences. he hasn't really explained himself and they have a lot of questions to answer. >> chris: do you think this has legs in the campaign? do you really think voters care about this? >> i don't know. only three weeks left and millions are already voting. not sure if there is enough time for this to have a huge effect. i think on the margins it does plant more questions in people's minds about what exactly the administration is up to. in terms of congressional hearings and other things there is not it that much time before the election. if this was june or july, i think potentially more so. >> chris: brit? >> without you sogging that jeff ought to leave early and get over to susan rice's residence, i think laura made a good point. it shouldn't just be up to the
candidates to get to the bottom of the this before election day. this should be a good job for all of the investigator reporters in the media to be out on this story. this does have it seems to me an extremely strong subsequent of coverup and looks like it wasle engineered in some way. just something about the five appearances on sunday with a story that they had to know was off base that doesn't smell right and ought to be exposed. >> but it is also a mindset sometimes when there is trouble in the white house there is too frequently a passivity, okay, let's step back and let the state department handle it, let's let somebody else handle it and not jump in and realize the seriousness of the moment. that -- >> we are talking about the ambassador. >> exactly. >> chris: don't you think this is politically toxic and they wanted to stay as -- >> they should have done that.
but time and time again obama o was out saying hey, look, we have got al-qaeda back on its heels. well, any one in the intelligence community knows that is not true. >> that is where the press' roll comes into play. >> when you are seeking sunday show guests for this program where do you get the answers from the administration. where does it come from? >> chris: comes from the white house. >> if susan rice is going out that has been okayed and approved by the white house and that is where this comes from, correct? >> chris: yes. >> thank you. >> chris: i don't like having to answer the questions. thank you, panel. see you next week. check out panel plus where we will pick up with this discussion on our website fox news sunday .com. make sure to follow us on twitter @foxnewssunday. we go next on the trail.
contested vice presidential debate, fiery rhetoric and candidates going important votes it's been a heated week on the trail. >> i know the president hopes for a safer and prosperous middle east. i share this hope. but hope is not a strategy. >> you can't turn a page on the path if you are promising to repeat them. we can't afford to go back with a foreign policy that gets us into wars with no plan to end them. >> joe biden has been on the stage many times, sure, it's a nervous situation. >> i'm looking forward to it. >> more people signed up for the medicare advantage. >> i know you are under a lot of duress. [ laughter ] >> but i think people would be better served if we don't keep interrupting each other.
>> i think the president loses the point looking for an arrogant cat back there. >> the grill is too hot. >> i've got news for governor romney and congressman ryan. america is neither dependent nor is it in decline. >> when america has a jobs crisis, wouldn't be nice to have a job creator in the white house >> chris: and 23 more days of campaign fun for the kids and tough grind for the grownups. to you this program note, tun